Today I see Niki Bezzant’s (Healthy Food Guide) article in The Herald is on the topic of fibre, constipation and bloating. Now maybe it’s just me but I wonder if anyone else found it ironic that the article is based on a survey of New Zealand women by a cereal company.

“A survey of New Zealand women by cereal company Kellogg’s found more than half the respondents suffered from bloating as a result of digestive discomfort many times a month. But most don’t talk about it and most don’t confidently know what to do to eliminate their symptoms.”

So what does this article recommend. Well constipation is highlighted as a common cause and as a remedy for that fibre is top of the list. And fibre is certainly a good thing. But where to get this fibre from? This is where I disagree with the article.

The article strongly implies that we NEED to get fibre from whole grains. This is not true. Vegetable and fruit have fibre and more than sufficient for the average person. (I know the article references vegetables and fruit but the implication is very much that those alone are not sufficient.)

But even if you consider that “whole grains” are an optimal source of fibre then where are you going to get these from? In the article dietitian Angela Phillips advocates not skipping breakfast as “its an easy time to get some whole grains in the form of cereal or grainy bread.”

Now, I’m not sure when Angela last took a look in the cereal and bread aisles at the local supermarket but the truth is that there isn’t much “whole grain” happening there. The cereals and bread that your average Herald reader are buying and eating are not actually “whole grains” and instead a mixture of refined wheat, vegetable oils, sugar & additives/preservatives.

And of course this discussion of healthy whole grains is prefaced by the inevitable dig at the paleo diet (which eschews grains). Which gets me thinking (as is the case every week with this particular column): is this an opinion piece or a marketing piece? I just say that as I note it ties in very nicely with the Healthy Food Guide’s current edition (with its cover article that highlights the “bad” of going gluten free) and which, in case Herald readers where not aware of, is featured prominently in the title of this article.

More importantly: Back to the women that were the subject of this survey and a recommendation as a first port of call for their bloating issues. Now look, I’m not a dietitian and I’m not the editor of one of New Zealand’s most popular magazines in the health sector. BUT, if anyone did ask me, here’s what I suggest: Something totally crazy … like.. what about these women all try ditching all the Kelloggs’ cereals they’re presumably eating???

Find the full Herald article here.